Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Handmade Monday & Socks

I'm running really late this morning so because my last post was really long this is just a quick smidgen of a post today for Wendy's Handmade Monday.

I've been out and about this week so haven't got as much done as I'd hoped, I have an order for some sock 'horses' so I think I'll be busy sewing most of the day.

One nearly finished and others waiting

But before I get the sewing box out I'm going to get myself a coffee, get comfy and have a nosey at all the other great blogs out there.

Jan x

Saturday, 28 May 2011

B is for Balance, Bookmarks and Bees

Carrying on with my alphabet theme, todays letter is 'B' so I'll start off with a bit of balance...

Balancing Act

We all need to find the right balance in our work, play and sleep routine. Finding that balance is the best strategy for getting ahead in the long run and the key to getting the most out of life.

I'm no expert but I do know that there is no magic formula or standard tick list to follow, balance is different for each and every one of us and we need to find what suits us best. As crafters, artisans, full or part time workers we can put in crazy hours to get a project finished and out to a client or the shop but we can't go on doing this on a long term, regular basis, it can burn us out or we can loose perspective. We need to balance that with a bit of 'me' time and family time.

I'm lucky that what I do for pleasure is an extension of my work, I love visiting Art Galleries and Museums, I window shop and people watch, I sketch and I take photographs, all that gives me inspiration and the motivation to continue being creative.

Getting the balance right is something we all face, our lives are full of balancing acts, the main two being work and play, family and friends. Sometimes the lines are blurred and we have to be aware and adjust our time. Some of us like to have a strict routine others like to be flexible. Do you find you are working too much and not spending enough time with friends and family? or do you find that you are not putting in enough work and are having too much social time? then you may need to re-evaluate your time and correct imbalances in your life.

Here are some points that I like to remember to keep my own life in balance and not let one area dominate the others,
  • Keep a log or journal so you can calculate your time spent in each area and if needed, see where adjustments can be made.
  • Keep an up to date diary so you can keep an eye on upcoming social and work events, commission due dates etc.
  • Avoid all nighters, we've all done it when getting ready for a fair, a commission or even an exam, this strategy rarely pays off as any work done will be offset by fatigue and/or stress.
  • Sometimes we need to say No. We need to know when we have enough projects on the go and get some of them finished before starting something new.
  • If you need help then you need to learn to ask for it.
  • Schedule some fun time.
 Now that's my thoughts on balance. Do you have your own ways of keeping things on an even keel?


B is also for Bookmarks 
I had fun making bookmarks with a neighbours grandchildren, they can be made as intricate or as simple as you like, I thought you might like to see them. 

I used to make them with my own children, from cutting off the corner of envelopes and decorating them to making the BOOKMARKS from scratch, that's up to you.

 All you need to start is strong paper or card, a pencil a ruler and some scissors and glue, I used PVA
Some other things you might want to use are different coloured card or paper, tissue paper, crayons or paints and anything else you can think of, the choice is ours.

Ok nothing complicated here, the pictures are pretty much self explanatory but I'll talk you through it anyway,
  1. Mark out and cut the required shape, I used A4 card and marked out squares measuring 7cm x 7cm. This size makes 4 bookmarks from 1 sheet.
  2. Fold in the two sides where I have marked. I also like to cut the corner where marked, it makes the bookmark easier to slot onto the corner of the page.
  3. Glue the folded pieces to each other, don't forget to leave a 'pocket' like the envelope corner. You can either decorate the front before or after glueing the back. 
  4. This shows the envelope type corner.
  5. A simple cut out paper daisy glued to the front.
  6. I glued on paper eyes, I also cut away the corner and added a different coloured triangle to represent a beak.

Here are the finished bookmarks slotted onto the pages of a book. It a good way to teach children to respect books and not turn down the corners of the page, (a pet hate of mine). There is no limit to the decoration that can be used for these, except the limit of our own imagination.


And finally, just to finish off the B's

From someone who has always run a mile on the first sight of a bee or sound of a buzz I think I've done quite well conquering my fear and taking these photographs.

 That's all from me for now.......

 Jan x

Monday, 23 May 2011

A is for Alphabet

I've had a busy week again this week and I'm loving it. I have had a week of making, doing, sorting and 'er hum' organising, I have been processing some orders, cutting and preparing the wood for my Plaques and Fairy Doors.

Wood for Plaques
I haven't got a finished piece of work to show today but I was having a bit of a think. ..(that's dangerous according to my OH),  I often  see blogs with “ 'this' of the day” or “ 'that' of the week' and I thought I'd give my little corner of the blogasphere a bit of a framework and after much thought decided in the age old, tried and tested format of the alphabet.
I'm not promising it will be regular or consistent but I'm hoping that it will give me a starting point for a post. I'm not saying it will make an amazing post or even an absorbing read but it may help me focus my whitterings random thoughts, opinions or musings and maybe a picture or two.

 So like the words of that well known song do-re-mi  Let's......
....start at the very beginning
A very good place to start
When you read you begin with A-B-C
When you sing you begin with do-re-mi

alphabet  (ˈælfəˌbɛt)
- noun
1. a set of letters or other signs used in a writing system, usually arranged in a fixed order, each letter or sign being used to represent one or sometimes more than one phoneme in the language being transcribed
2. any set of symbols or characters, esp one representing sounds of speech
3. basic principles or rudiments, as of a subject 
A is for Apple.......A bit simple I know but everyone has to start somewhere.
Salt Dough

Here are some fruits I made with Salt Dough.

There are lots of different recipes out there but
 I like to use this one HERE

A is for Art Nouveau

For a brief period at the end of the 19th century – starting around 1890,  Art Nouveau dominated the Art and cultural scene. Everything from decorative art and domestic furnishings to architecture and advertising was characterised by its elegance and organic forms inspired by nature. Even today, more than a century after the emergence of Art Nouveau, artists and designers continue to be inspired by the floral elements, natural features and colours of this enduring style.
Joe Boyle of 'Glasgow Art Metals' is a Glasgow based Artist  who specializes in metal and glass. His shop can  be found here on  Folksy

I'm off now for a wander around all the blogs that take part in the Handmade Monday  blog hop that is  hosted by Wendy of 1st Unique Gifts, I hope you can join me, there is always something new and interesting to look at.

Jan x

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Green Man Canvases for Handmade Monday

Another busy week, I don't know where the time goes, it just seems to be flying by.
Let me take you back to last year, I had a a few canvases in a local shop and they sold quite well, a couple of them were of the 'Green Man', well last week I received a pleasant phone call asking if I could do another one, so I got to work and really enjoyed it so I painted a couple of extra ones too and thought I'd try them out in my Folksy shop, I hope you like them.

Oak leaves with pairs of acorns

Leaves painted around the sides of the canvas

Sycamore leaves and paired seeds, or 'wings'

Painting continues at the sides of the canvas

I also finished the beach themed canvases that I posted about in the previous 2 posts, they are only small, 7"x 5" each. I'm not to sure what I'm going to do with them yet. 
I painted them for fun because I had the paint out for a commission and the blank canvases where just an odd 4 that I had laying around for the last few months.

I may put them in my Face Book album and see what happens.

I'd like to say a big thank you to Wendy at Ist Unique Gifts for hosting Handmade Monday, please check this out as it's a great way to hop around the blogs and another big thank you to Linda at  Uniquely Yours for including one of my Plaques in her blog. Linda does a wonderful job of showcasing some of her Folksy Favourites.

Thank you for visiting

Jan x

Monday, 9 May 2011

Two new Plaques

Hi all I hope you had a good week. 
I have another couple of my Plaques to show you this week.

 Girly colours were needed for this one and I don't think you can get more girly than pinks and lilacs.


Previously I have painted this Dad's Den Plaque in various ways, sometimes painted with a pint of Lager or a Guinness but this one is a G&T with Ice and a Slice.
The nice thing about painting these Plaques to order is I can change the wording and the picture to whatever the customer wants. This Dad's Den Plaque has been ordered for Fathers Day.


In my previous post I showed you a little snippet of a series of small canvases I'm painting, well I haven't finished them yet, I was planning to do them over the week-end but found once again that there just isn't enough time in the day to get everything done. I did manage to get a smidgeon done on Friday afternoon and hopefully I'll finish them in the next couple of days.

I'm off to start having a look at all the other wonderful blogs that take part in Wendys Handmade Monday.
It's great to see what all you other crafters are up to. Don't forget to leave a comment if you can as we all appreciate visits and comments.

Friday, 6 May 2011

My Fairy Doors

Hi all, I hope you are enjoying this brilliant weather we are having, apparently (according to the weather forecast) it is going to be a great week-end. I have been a busy bee today, this morning I priced up, bagged and tagged some more of my Fairy Doors and taken them to my lovely local gift shop.

These are my medium sized Fairy Doors, they are approximately 4" x 3" and every one is different.


These ones are my Small Fairy Doors, these ones are just 3" x 2" and are really cute. Fairy Doors and 'anything' Fairy has always been very popular, they are loved by children and adults alike.


This is my latest commission Plaque from an order taken at my last craft fair.

This afternoon I decided to start on a series of small canvases, I've only gone as far as the prep, a bit of a bitty sketch and the first bit of paint. Here is a sneaky preview.


To finish off and just for the fun of it,  I thought I'd pop in a couple of snaps taken last week while enjoying an outing with my wonderful grandson.

Have a great week-end all

Jan x

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Brandon Park Canvas

I hope you all had a great Easter, I had a great time visiting my Mum, my Daughter and my Grandson.
It is just a quick short blog today as hubby and I have been in holiday mode for the last couple of weeks, although I did manage to get a couple of commission plaques done. Today I thought I'd show you the canvas that makes up my blog banner.

The unfinished painting.

This first picture is before I painted the flowers in the foreground.

It is of a small lake in Brandon Park not too far from my home. 

The canvas is 16”x20” it is not very big but a lot bigger than the name plaques you usually see me doing. 

When I decided to take the plunge and start a blog I had no idea what was involved in setting it up, I just followed the instructions. When 'asked' to upload a picture for a banner I had no idea what 'look' I wanted so I went into my picture file and asked my hubby to 'pick one' and this is the one he chose. I cropped the photograph and added a lens flare effect at either end, it was all done in a bit of a rush, but turned out ok. 
The colour of the photograph isn't brilliant, this is something I need to work on. The painting is brighter in 'real life'.

Now Easter and my holiday is over  I need to catch up on some orders, I have a few Beach huts to finish off, the new ones are not done with magnets like these ones but have sticky pads on the back, I have an outdoor Fairy door to varnish  and oh, I almost forgot,  I have a laundry basket to sort through.  So in between the sawing, painting, varnishing and housework, I'll grab a coffee and have a look at lots of other wonderful and interesting blogs.

Why not join me in the Handmade Monday blog hop and pop over to see  Wendy at Ist Unique Gifts,

I'd also like to thank Diana Jessie for the mention in her great blog dianajessie, my plaque is the 6th picture down.